The way of the "400" Thanks to KK


The 26+28 is the model we have been trying for. I am hoping that this handicap race has flipped the switch and realises what he has to do.

I haven’t followed the 5-6x200 as closely as I would like, probably have only done 4 or so sessions and the target times were never reached.

To achieve the 5-6x200m for a developing quarter miler you will probably have to go through a progression like:

2x200m [5min] 2x200m
3x200m [5min] 2x200m
3x200m [5min] 3x200m

Doing this session once a week it usually takes 2 sessions at each progression to achieve target times. Depending on the athlete’s endurance qualities they may need more than 5min between sets.

We did something like 3, 2, 1 x 200m -6-8 min between sets, 2 x 3 x 200. Unfortunately things transpired, work and study committments, and we couldn’t work it up to 6 x 200…

Thanks for the progression TopCat :slight_smile:

This is very similar to what I use, but work around 3 minutes rest between runs and a little more between the sets, depending on weather, fitness level etc.

I feel these runs really helped my 400m guys gain speed, along with 2-4 200m races per week during a 6 week competitive phase (high school level).

TC why weren’t you around with this plan back in 1987 when I was putting my two quarter-milers through agony in their bid to get through 6x200m in prep for Seoul 1988 :slight_smile:

I went to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem yesterday to run the open 400m. It really didn’t go my way.

I ran last the 4 x 400m Relay last week and led off in 48.3 from lane one in 50º windy weather.

It was about 75º yesterday in Winston-Salem, so I figured I should go 47-something.

I had a race plan on how I was going to get it done.

Check it out:

I ran 48.3 last week and went out super-slow the first 200m. This week, I was going to mash-down for the first 50-60m, coast down the backstretch, then start working back into it at the 150m-to-go mark.

That was my formula for 47.

Didn’t really go that way.

This is what was going through my mind throughout the race:

Gun goes off: “OK. Push off the first 50m. OK… check. Wow. I’m picking up the guy in lane 4 really quick. He must be getting out slow… Or…”

300m to go: “Alright. I need to relax back here in this backstrech. Conserve a little bit… Umm… Nah. Let me push a teench-bit more… Yeah… let me do that…”

250m to go: “OK… This is a nice brisk pace I’m running… I think I’ll be OK. This is what I’m supposed to be doing… Right? …Yeah, this is how you’re supposed to run the 400m… This is cool… I’m cool…??..”

200m to go: “Yeah I’m feeling good. Halfway home! My legs feel good… This is going to be fast! I’m going to blast this last 200m… This is most-def going to be 47! Hell, it might even be 46!! If I run 46, I’ll BE THE MAN!! Yeah! 46, here we come!!”

180m to go: “OK…here it comes. I’m really rolling now!! I’m catching everyone! These guys are gonna be sick when they let me, a 110m hurdler beat them in the 400m!! HA HA HA HA!! I LOVE IT!! Its gonna be 46!!!”

160m to go: “UH-OH…”

150m to go: “Wait a minute… What’s wrong with my legs?”

140m to go: “Umm… Why are those guys pulling away again??”

130m to go:"%*#&!!"

120m to go:“This is stupid.”

110m to go:“Those sound like footsteps… Don’t tell me that guy in lane 4 is coming back… CRAP!! He just passed me back…”

90m to go:“OK. Almost there… Whoa… Did someone just snipe me?..Hey I think someone just shot me in both my hamstrings!!”

80m to go:“Oh no. My back! The same sniper that shot my legs also decided to drop a piano on my back! And not one of those cheap pianos like on the Price-Is-Right™, but one of those huge pianos, like Alicia Keys plays…”

75m to go: “Why did I sign up for this?? TELL ME WHY!!”

65m to go:“OK… those guys are way in front. They’re probably running REAL fast though… Like 45 or something… Yeah… I might not run 46, but maybe I can run 47… Yeah… I’m probably around 47 pace right now… Thats cool with me!!..Man, this is hurting… being shot in both legs and hauling a piano, and all…”

60m to go:“Hey… are those more footsteps–? Oh no… Don’t tell me that guy on the inside is gonna–CRAP!! AM I IN LAST PLACE??!”

50m to go: “Hmm… I think I maybe ran too hard the first half of the race… Umm… Yep, because apparently, I’M DYING!!”

40m to go:“Hey are those people over there laughing? Not cool.”

30m to go:“OK almost there. I can surge again and close until the finish. Cmon. Ready… GO!!.. OK. Maybe not.”

20m to go:“Everything’s… burning… I’m glad Myra’s not here… She’d be laughing so hard. I’m not going to tell her about this…”

10m to go:“Hey is that someone on the outside?? Hey I think I’m going to beat somebody… if… I can… just… stay alive … for the next…”

5m to go:“There’s the clock… 47… 48… get there before it says…”

FINISH: “I think I just ran 49 seconds… $@&^!!!”

I was! Just watching it on TV unfortunately… :wink: My experience is with athlete in the 45-47/51-55 range so usually with them it takes a little longer to achieve the target times and hence I needed to come up with a progression to get there. This is especially important when moving someone up from 200m to 400m. Maybe all you need the first year is this kind of session once a week? The second time you go through this in a year (after indoor season) they can usually start back at 4x200m right away and hit the target times before moving to either 3x200m [5min] 3x200m or something similar…

I think it depends on the level of aspiration of your athlete, the time-line (degree of urgency) and other things like the training background, the perceived potential of the athlete etc. You can it in a season if you must and that was the circumstance I tumbled into approaching Seoul OGs. But I like your progression options and recommend them to others intending to incorporate this session into their own training.

What’s the correlation between being able to finish the 6x200m session in your take home time and one’s actual ability to finish a race at that pace?

Perhaps this was covered at some point in the Lactate Threshold thread, but I’d love to know how this translates to what actually matters: the race! I’ve always been a guy who never realizes his 400m potential. My sprint PRs are 7.08 (60m), 11.08 (100), 22.02 (200m), and 49.87 (400m). It seems as though I should be able to go sub-49, but I’ve never been able to finish the race. Therefore, I am especially interested in finding the missing piece of my training.

22.7 200 speed gets you enough reserve to run 50 in the 400m. With my athletes at your speed, the workout was dead on. The athlete ran 5x200 in 26 and then broke 50 seconds a week later (49.0 to be exact). He also ran 22.3 two weeks later.

The term “along with” is a bit ambiguous. Are you using these hard sessions in addition to 200m races during the competitive season or only in SPP, i.e. you meant to say that they work equally good?
And in addition to 200m races they also run the 400 in the same week?

I’m really interested to hear what your 400m kids, or anyone else’s for that matter, in this age group can handle in terms of lactate load in a week.

Read my journal from last season in the training journal threads.

This winter my 400/800 kids, coming off XC season, went through 12 week GPP and ran near PBs in 800 with minimal distance work (less than 10 miles weekly). They ran mostly 800 indoors (I believe 4-5), 2 400s and 1 200.

Without the 200 work, their 400 times were not great given their 800 improvement.

In a given week during my HS season during meets, Tuesday and Sat are meets and they will run a variety of 200, 400 and 800 races, usually trying to get extra 200 and 400s when possible, saving only the 4x800 which we are top 10 in state, and the occasional 800 in dual meets which they can jog and win.

On Thursday, depending on how I felt they were doing last season, we did 5x200 or some type of short split run to help improve speed.

Having started some other kids (17 -18 yr old) on this training, I’m comfortable saying they need to be fit before starting. My 49 second kid came off basketball season, and this year those boys came off XC.

Second, the runner must be mentally tough to get through the nasty split runs. Mentally weak runners will simply just jog the entire workout, which defeats the purpose. They are better off doing something less mentally demanding, maybe L-S 400 type training.


There has been some discussion on another board about a very similar, but seemingly impossible, 400m workout. What do you think about 6 x 250 off 90secs in comehome pace (90% of 250m PB)? This seems extreme. Could any of your athletes ever complete something like that?

If you can do 6x200m at a pace that is 3s slower than your 200m PB (with perfect technique) and this pace is the same as your last 200m of the quarter mile AND you are also in 200m PB shape then I have never had an athlete not achieve the desired 400m time.

E.g. 6x200m [2.5min] in 27s achieved. In competition the athlete ran 24.1 for 200m. 2 weeks later they ran 25.3/27 for 52.3s 400m PB.

Of course they were also doing other special endurance sessions like 2x350m [40min] etc which were also on target for a 52s clocking but the 5-6x200m is a foundation for such a performance and a logical progression towards it.

Thats a tough one…4 or 5 x250m off 5min in 87.5%-90% 250m best is a horendous session so to try it off 90sec I dont think could happen.

With regards to the 200m session progression, is there merit in doing as many as possible in target time and simply working up to the 6 over the GPP and into the SPP? Might get three at first in trainers then progress to 4 or 5 then to 6 if done every 3-5 weeks? Just a thought.

For sure that’s possible, Tin. Look at TC’s progression on page 7.


What progression are you writing about? Page 7 of what?

It’s this one here, Star:

Thats how my 400m guy managed to progress that come home 200m session Tin, just be patient with it, I’m sure you will get there. He just worked in trainers as he’s prone to shin soreness, he just walks the recoveries to keep the pressure off the shins - just in case.